Local myths of Fontana that are quite real....

We often hear rumors about who or what might have lived, or died or has family in an area.. Below are some figures, some most noticeable and others not so notorious that once had something to do with the city of Fontana.

Gangster Al Capone once had a home in Fontana, which was notable for the initial "C" displayed on one of the home's chimneys. It was rumored that Capone had secret passageways or tunnels built under the house that led out into the back yard making for a quick escape in case his place was ever surrounded by the fuzz. No tunnels were ever found though after the home was torn down. And we all know what happened to Al after he left Fontana.

The Crlenica Brothers, a local Slavic "Tamburitza" musical group, lived in Fontana, had a music store on Arrow Blvd., and played music locally for Fontana's large Slavic population. Unbeknownst to most Fontana residents, they also did some movie work in Hollywood, performing on the soundtrack of "Dr. Zhivago", and also in the movie "Patton," near the end of the movie in the Russian dance scene.

Shelton Brooks, legendary songwriter and bandleader of the early 20th century, spent several decades in his later years living in Fontana. The writer of such hits as "Darktown Strutters’ Ball" and "Some of These Days," he would buy a new Cadillac every year with his songwriter royalties.. As a leader of his own successful big band, he hobnobbed with the Hollywood elite and became especially close to torch singer Sophie Tucker, known as The Last of the Red Hot Mammas.
Whitman Mayo, the actor who played Shady Grady in the TV series "Sanford and Son," moved with his family from New York City to Fontana in 1967, when he was 37. While living in Fontana he attended Chaffey College in nearby Cucamonga.. He once served as the Grand Marshall in the Fontana Days parade.

Legendary motorcycle builder Denver Mullins was from Fontana.. He started a bike shop, Denver’s Choppers, in San Bernardino in 1967, where he was the first to toy in the building of custom bikes and replacement bike parts. The shop later moved to Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, where it still operates to this day. Denver died in a racing boat accident in 1992.

Henry Kaiser’s steel mill in Fontana was the only steel mill west of the Mississippi River.. During WWII Kaiser shipbuilding contributed hundreds of naval and merchant vessels.. The steel mill scene in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie "Terminator 2" was filmed in the abandoned Kaiser Steel Mill. Robo Cop was also filmed at the old steel mill as well as many sci-fi and police movies.

What ever happened to Ro-Val’s automobile museum, located on Foothill Blvd on the western outskirts between Fontana and Cucamonga? It was for a while the home for many classic automobiles of the 20’s and 30’s, including a huge vehicle once owned by screen actor Fatty Arbuckle. When the Ro-Val museum closed, the vehicles were sold to Bill Harrah, a Nevada casino owner and automobile collector, who placed them on display in the museum located at his casino.

In the 1950’s and 60’s Fontana was home to a famous drag racing strip that was a significant venue in the NHRA circuit. Known officially as Mickey Thompson’s Fontana International Dragway, it was also referred to as Fontana Drag City or just plain old Fontana Drag Strip. The original Fontana strip closed after several serous accidents and deaths to the drivers ad the NHRA deemed the track to short and narrow for safe racing.

Comments

KKK had a house across the street from the YMCA. They use to burn crosses after football games on friday night's in the early '80s

Yeehaw!

Nuthin like a good ole cross burnin after an All-American football game!

Get me nuther beer while I drive my truck, Billy Bob!

what is the address of the kkk house?

found the kkk house in Fontana. I have pictures on my instagram @markbailey66
its right off the street that Al Capone's house was on.

The house is on Anastasia ave. off of Plametto. Can't miss it, it is the only plantation style house on the block. Fontana residents know it as "The White House" around the corner off this same street is Capone's house.

10028 Palmetto ave. Fontana
Does anyone know anything about the building now used as a daycare?

18~16 years ago my father used to climb the hills by the Nature Center and said he used to see men in white robes burning a cross and just hanging out all the time (and go drinking).
He has said this happened in several occasions, but he did not even have a single clue who the KKK was. Him knowing obviously being illegal. He was with his buddies and they all vouched for this

I am not sure how I came across this page but boy am I happy I did!! This has been most amusing. Found some very creative name calling that made me laugh out loud!

As a person born and raised in Fontana (yes one those born at Kaiser in 1957 and still here working at Kaiser), I can agree with some things said. Not a smogpit (was that the term?) since Kaiser Steel shut down. But not my old home town at all. It sucks to read banners hung accross Sierra in a language I don't understand. But with that said diversity was always a strong point here growing up. It never mattered what your race was just that you were a good person whose word was always honored. If not then the KKK or Al Capone would correct you! LOL!!!!

He lived on Tamarind between Arrow and Merrill

It's funny the comments about the Mexicans taking over Fontana. I'm third generation to be born at kaiser hospital and to grow up in Fontana. I am Mexican and my family helped build Fontana and had a huge hand in the community. The town was once segregated, the whites that had money lived on the north side and all other races lived on the south side. My family worked at the pig and bird farms, they worked at the steel mill, and they ran local businesses. So you see Mexicans aren't something new or what's destroyed the town. Fontana is affordable and once upon a time it was quite. In the 90's when they built Southridge it opened a ton of affordable housing wich attracted family's trying to get out of gang infested Los Angeles. Unfortunately with some of these families they brought the gangs with them adding to the gangs we already had, resulting in a crime explosion. This has kept the real estate prices down and a never ending cycle of more crime being added. The statistics about the crime rates aren't true, it's just a bunch of nonsense the politicians print on paper to make people feel safer. Open your eyes and determine it with your gut. I don't live in Fontana anymore and I won't ever again. My parents still do but the rest of my family has relocated. The city is broken and the troubles come from all shapes and forms regardless of race. I will not defend a city that I watched die and crumble by the hands of outsiders that had no part in building it in the first place. Mexicans, Caucasians, and Italians all had a place in building Fontana. It has a rich history of being a hideout and getaway for many walks of life. All the stories of Al Capone, KKK, and the Hells Angels are very true. Lots of criminal master minds had they're stay and pass through the town. Now it's full of a bunch of empty headed thugs, drug dealers and low life's. Sad.

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